Michael Garriga selected as inaugural Carol Lucas Visiting Author
Marietta College will be hosting Michael Garriga as its inaugural Carol L. Lucas ’70 Visiting Author. Garriga will be giving a public reading at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 28th, in the Alma McDonough Auditorium with a question and answer session following his work.
“I love giving these kinds of readings — and the Q&As and meetings that often follow — because they’re rare moments in our culture when we can linger for a moment, together, on a single literary experience,” he said. “During a reading, for 30 minutes or so, nothing else is vying for our attention. We focus. Together. And we engage, deeply, with some of the literature being created in our time. And unlike the pleasures of TV or movie watching, literature requires an active engagement on the part of both author and audience.”
From a long line of storytellers in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Garriga’s background as a shrimp picker, a bartender and a soundman in a blues bar lend the voice for his first collection of short stories titled The Book of Duels (Milkweed Editions, 2014). Consisting of dramatic monologues, The Book of Duels is a collection of flash fiction exploring the interworking’s of the human mind and spirit in some of America’s most infamous duels including Burr vs. Hamilton and John Henry’s race against the steam engine.
“We are extremely honored to have Michael Garriga on campus,” said Dr. Nathan Anderson, Associate Professor of English. “His willingness to participate in a variety of activities to engage our students while on campus is tremendous, and we are grateful to Carol Lucas for supporting this event. The stories are particularly striking for their compressed and often poetic use of language, for the way they incorporate history, myth, and pop-culture, and for the ways the stories relate to one another.”
Garriga’s work has appeared in many places including The Southern Review, New Letters, and Oxford American; and online at Esquire, HuffPost, and Cleveland.com. In 2016, he was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for the Arts and Culture, and an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.
“At our core, we are storytelling creatures, trying to make sense of a world that appears chaotic and random,” Garriga said. “To help us sort through the apparent chaos, we use the narratives of mythology and legend and movies — as well as religion and science and the nightly news — to try to understand and forge purpose about this brief experience. We are the dramatic animals. We tell stories. We listen. We co-create.”
During his visit, English majors and minors will attend lunch with Garriga allowing students to engage with the author and learn more about his work in an informal atmosphere. In addition, Garriga will visit with Dr. Heather Soward’s Topical Perspectives in Literature course, which is currently focusing on crime fiction. Students in the class will have the opportunity to discuss Garriga’s work in fiction, the life of a writer, and the role of writing and literature in the 21st century.
With a Ph.D. from Florida State University, Garriga resides in Berea, Ohio, with his wife and two children. He currently serves as an associate professor of English at Baldwin Wallace University and co-editor of the online literary journal, FictionSoutheast.com.
There will be a reception in McDonough’s third-floor gallery immediately following Garriga’s discussion. The event is free and open to the public.